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Restoring antique furniture: how it works
Restoring antique furniture: how it works
Video: Restoring antique furniture: how it works
Video: Restoring Antique Fold Top Desk | Furniture Restoration Refinishing Repair How To 2023, February
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Whether polishing, painting or waxing: Restoring furniture properly doesn't have to be difficult. In our instructions, we will show you how to process your antique treasures.

Table of contents Table of contents Restoring antique furniture - A guide to maintaining your antique treasures

  • 1. Restore disconnected connections
  • 2. Repair holes and cracks
  • 3. Repair the veneer
  • 4. Touch up paint
  • 5. Polish up

Table of contents Table of contents Restoring antique furniture - A guide to maintaining your antique treasures

  • 1. Restore disconnected connections
  • 2. Repair holes and cracks
  • 3. Repair the veneer
  • 4. Touch up paint
  • 5. Polish up

It is time to restore the furniture when the time-honored chest of drawers or the chair no longer just crunches and creaks, but has real defects, or the beauty of the inherited secretary suffers from a heavily worn surface. The thought of reconditioning antique furniture drives the sweat on not a few hobbyists. With a little know-how, the fear of taking care of the aged treasures is unfounded. The following instructions can help so that your old treasures will soon shine in new splendor.

1. Restore disconnected connections

The first look when revising antique furniture should always be to ensure the stability and functionality of the piece of furniture. Therefore, pay attention to loosened connections.

In most cases, you can reconnect them with a little glue without too much effort. To do this, completely loosen the faulty connection with a hammer and an allowance. Then remove the old glue with a chisel and then put the connection back together freshly glued.

Important: Work on a straight surface so that the piece of furniture does not warp and only insert pins and frames as far as this corresponds to the original condition of the piece of furniture. A pencil mark can make your work easier.

Griff
Griff

It can also happen that a handle is missing on the piece of furniture. This can also be easily reattached.

Photo: ArisSu / iStock

2. Repair holes and cracks

Tisch
Tisch

Smooth the surface so that no unevenness remains.

Photo: Gallo Images / living4media

When repairing holes and cracks on antique furniture, you should first check whether they are only on the veneer, i.e. the decorative upper material of the piece of furniture, or whether the base material, the so-called carrier wood, is damaged.

If the latter is the case, you have to artificially fill in or restore the holes and cracks. Shellac or wax sticks, which are melted with an old iron, are well suited for this, so that the material can drip into the holes and cracks. Then the surface can be smoothed again with a chisel and a sanding fleece. The final waxing or polishing with shellac varnish ensures that the repaired area of ​​the optics matches the entire surface better.

Tip: Wood repair kits are available from retailers at a price of 20 to 30 euros.

3. Repair the veneer

The wafer-thin thickness of the surface requires some precision and skill when veneering wood or when repairing faulty areas.

It is therefore important to get an accurate picture of the damage that has occurred, in order to then choose the appropriate repair method:

  • Detached veneer: The veneer often detaches at the corners and edges of the piece of furniture. Then it is sufficient to inject some glue under the detached area and then press it on carefully with weights or clamps.
  • Bubbles in the veneer: If the veneer throws waves and bubbles on surfaces, you can use a disposable syringe to apply the glue at the appropriate points with a fine dose. Then press the veneer with weights or clamps.
  • Missing veneer: If the veneer itself is damaged or small veneer spots are missing, you must replace the missing or faulty veneer with a similar piece of veneer. Cut a piece from a veneer sheet that is slightly larger than the area to be repaired. Then draw the outline of the replacement piece in pencil on the broken surface and then cut the old layer of veneer with a cutter knife along the mark. Then remove the old veneer with a chisel or screwdriver and then glue the new veneer in with some glue. To adjust the look, the new piece must now be matched to the old surface with a little stain or clear varnish.

Important: Always place a piece of paper and a thin piece of wood (so-called allowance) between the veneer and the weight or clamp in order to prevent the veneer from sticking.

4. Touch up paint

To enhance the look, simpler woods such as spruce or fir were often veneered or painted over when producing furniture. Since color penetrates the grain of the wood, repairing chipped paint is a demanding but solvable task. In any case, you should refrain from trying to paint over larger areas of color. Because it is usually not possible to reproduce the original color exactly, so that repainted areas can still be recognized afterwards, even when the work is done well. Instead, you should limit the repair to the faulty spot. To do this, clean the relevant area as thoroughly as possible with a household cleaner or a ammonia solution. Then mix the color on a palette and test its color fastness at a hidden place on the piece of furniture (for example on the back of a secretary). Acrylic paints are good for reworking. However, make sure that they darken slightly when drying. If the retouched color matches the original color of the piece of furniture, carefully dab it on the faulty area. To avoid sharp transitions, you should also lightly smudge the paint with your finger.

Möbelstück lackieren
Möbelstück lackieren

With antique pieces of furniture, you should slowly approach the color to get the original color.

Photo: bluebeat76 / iStock

5. Polish up

After correcting the colors and surfaces, the final polish is the last step in the restoration of the antique piece of furniture. For this, it is crucial how the surface of your piece of furniture is processed. This is the easiest way to remove shellac polish with spirit, while wax is best removed with turpentine oil.

Once you have removed any paint or wax residue, the piece of furniture must be cleaned completely so that it is clean, dry and dust-free.

You can then apply the shellac or wax the antique furniture. Here are some pointers:

  • Painting: You can use a light thinner to clean the surface. So that the new varnish holds well on your antique piece of furniture, it is advisable to lightly sand the surface of the furniture. It is best to apply the varnish with a wide brush to achieve a uniform look. Since shellac is fast drying, you should also work very quickly.
  • Waxing: waxing furniture is simple and straightforward. It is best to use furniture wax to seal the surfaces. But it is also possible to use floor wax. Apply the wax with a soft, lint-free cloth and polish it evenly into the surface of the piece of furniture.
Möbel wachsen
Möbel wachsen

Antique pieces of furniture can be waxed and get a beautiful shine.

Photo: RebeccaNathan / iStock Alina Günder

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